Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population (GLMM) Programme

An international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of a major Gulf think tank and a globally renowned academic migration centre.
The programme provides data, analyses, and recommendations contributing to the improvement of understanding and management of
Gulf labour migration, population, and labour markets, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholder.

Non-Kuwaiti population by migration status and country of citizenship of holder (2011) (some nationalities)

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  Migration Status TOTAL
Country of citizenship Worker Family member Student Other resident 
Iraq 4.441 10.596 0 341 15.378
Syria 57.239 73.141 2 1.619 132.001
Lebanon 18.724 23.066 0 521 42.311
Jordan 19.864 32.641 3 647 53.155
Palestine 3.391 4.471 0 186 8.048
Egypt 320.892 128.272 13 8.414 457.591
Other Arabs 13.288 10.894 41 406 24.629
Total Arab nationalities 437.839 283.081 59 12.134 733.113
Iran 26.313 16.700 9 771 43.793
Philippines 130.692 7.360 33 1.879 139.964
Pakistan 93.718 26.981 32 1.900 122.631
India 550.943 86.705 18 9.629 647.295
Bangladesh 183.174 6.932 7 5.427 195.540
Sri Lanka  105.120 4.020 21 1.669 110.830
Other nationalities 180.760 23.338 586 5.707 210.391
TOTAL ALL NATIONALITIES 1.708.559 455.117 765 39.116 2.203.557

Source: Ministry of Interior





1. Definitions and data collection method


The migration status is inferred from the distribution of expatriates by type of residence permits they hold as of December 31st, the given year (cf. tables in files MOV 2.3).


Workers are holders of permits n°17 (governmental labor), 18 (non-governmental labor); 19 (business) and 20 (domestic help).

Family members are holders of a dependent permit: spouse, children or elderly dependent relatives can join visa holder (sponsor) in Kuwait, if the expatriate has obtained a residency and is earning a minimum of KD250 a month (private and governement sector alike).

A working wife cannot sponsor her husband as a dependent. Also, sons over the age of 21 years cannot be sponsored as dependants, though adult daughters and parents may be permitted. Dependent family members are not allowed to work on a Dependent Visa, unless they transfer it into a work visa under Kuwaiti sponsorship. This can be done only after 6 to 12 months of holding a dependent visa.

Every children including new born babies must hold a residency permit. The application for the infant’s residence must be made within 60 days of the birth

The Dependent Visa holder is permitted to stay as long as the sponsor holds a valid visa.

Students are holders of a study visa

Other residents are holders of:

* Temporary permit: An expatriate may be granted temporary residence under article 14 of the immigration regulations in special cases where he does not need or cannot get ordinary residence.

This allows the expatriate to stay for up to one year, for personal emergencies such as illness, or after resignation from employment in order to settle financial affairs or a court case.

* Self residence permit: Expatriates may sponsor themselves under article 24 of the regulations and obtain a residence for two to five years under several conditions

(among which: being aged 60 and more, having worked no less than 25 years in Kuwait, owning a capital of 10000 KD at least; being able to produce a certificate of good conduct, being effectively residing in Kuwait with his/her family, etc.).

This form of residence can be renewed upon expiry. Self-sponsored expatriates may sponsor their wives and children.

Residency procedures do not apply to GCC nationals.

The bidoun, a stateless population, are not included in the residency documents holders.

The table thus excludes the Bidoun residents, the non-Kuwaiti GCC citizens and those in irregular situation.


2. Institution which provides data


Ministry of Interior


3. Period of data coverage


December 31st, given years


4. Data availability


b- 2011′ data is tabulated in MoI’ 2011 Statistical Yearbook, in Chapter “Immigration statistics” (not available online). The volume may be directly obtained from MoI.


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